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NiceHCK HK6

Rating:
5/5,
  1. Dsnuts
    Earphone nervana from NiceHCK the HK6
    Written by Dsnuts
    Published May 20, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Excellent full balanced spacious sound, absolute stunning build, outstanding value, euphoric sound.
    Cons - Accessories just gets a pass, sub bass needs a slight boost.
    NiceHCK HK6!


    A shout out to Jim at NiceHCK.. Thank you my friend for being such a good steward and friend to the headfi community and especially giving such a good deal of an excellent earphone.


    Disclaimer: I was not provided with the HK6 for review purposes.. I bought these from the most recent Aliexpress anniversary sales. March 28th. Due to my own curiosity of them. As far as I know I was the first person in all of the greater US to buy one. In fact when I bought these what got me curious about them is that every single review that was posted on the NiceHCK web page was all Japanese enthusiasts. My question was why was these guys buying these up left and right? There must be a reason right?


    Ok so I will spill the beans. I wanted something to tide me over till Ibasso brought out their IT04 but I suppose I was getting a bit frustrated with the wait. Still not out by the way but I suppose things like that happen for a reason. In hindsight I am glad it is still not out. Otherwise I think I might have skipped out on purchasing the HK6. Anyways so here it is a long overdue review of the HK6.


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    Specs:
    1. Product Name: NICEHCK HK6 6BA drive unit in ear earphone customized earphone
    2. Type: In-ear
    3. Model: HK6 (6 Balanced Armature)
    4. Impedance: 30Ω
    5. Earphone sensitivity: 120±5db/mW
    6. Frequency range: 20-20000Hz
    7. Cable Interface: 3.5mm/2.5mm/4.4mm
    8. Cable Length: 1.2m±5cm
    9.Color: Blue
    10.Whether with mic: No
    11.Earphone plug type: Line type
    12.Earphone Interface Type: MMCX interface
    13.Drive unit: 6BA drive unit
    14.Whether with earphone upgrade cable: Buyers Can Choose Without / With Cable


    I remember hearing my first Chinese made iems the Monoprice MP8320 thinking geez these things sound much better than what the price indicates. I remember leading the charge for that cheap phone only to sell out numerous times on monoprice web site. Fast forward 7 years later and we get numerous overwhelming selection of advanced earphones, buds, hybrids and exotic earphones all made by the Chinese. In fact I will argue the real advancements in earphone tech is really coming out of China.


    What the HK6 here represents is something that is a culmination of years of earphone manufacturing and crafting. As much as you guys love your earphones designed in Japan, Asia Korea,US or Europe. I am willing to bet they are all made in China. So it is natural to think it will be the Chinese that will have the most practice in making them nice earphones for you.. Earphone design now a days have so much going for them it is mind blowing just the sheer variety you get on Aliexpress. We have dedicated threads on headfi that dig into the various earphones and I have to say the advancements are for real. The advancements in multi driver combinations are staggering. Hybrids are no longer the new thing.It is the common thing. It is even in $20 earphones now a days.


    Take the HK6 here it is a more higher end mature sound vs earphones I used to pay a premium for just a year or two ago. At the time of writing the asking price for the HK6 is $200 using a head-fi only discount code on their web site. That is $70 off the regular asking price and $220 total for a nice SPC included cable with the added ability to choose single end or in balanced with the earphones. If you don’t own a variety of cables already. The included cable is highly recommended. It is an excellent soft SPC 8 core cable.


    Here is what you get out of the box.

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    NiceHCK zip up case. The earphones themselves, SPC cable and a variety of silicone tips. Not exactly a kings share of accessories. The tips are usable but for me not optimal for the sound of the HK6. I have suggested to Jim that they need to investigate the JVC spiral dot tips. As those are what I am using to evaluate the sound of the HK6. Included tips work but it is the wide bored variety of tips that seems to bring out the best sound out of the HK6 for me. Of course it might be different for you.


    So here we go.
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    Build on the HK6 is stunning. What you see is a semi custom shell and a hand crafted earphone with 6 knowles BA drivers and crossovers all stacked inside a shell made out of hard plastic aqua blue resin. The Aqua blue color is currently the only choice of color on them. Another suggestion for possible future iterations of these was color variety. Will get into this a bit more later.

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    As standard as the thrown in accessories are you will quickly forget about accessories and marvel on how awesomely good looking the HK6 is in hand. Yes they do look a bit like jewelry and I would imagine you will treat them like so especially once you hear them. They come with standard newer style mmcx connectors which is awesome. Whomever came up with this newer block style of mmcx connector is a genius. I know guys have had bouts of lost signal from previous generations of mmcx connector and all I can say is these connectors are much more robust and have secure connection to any cables that attaches to them.


    Burn in: Highly recommended. You don’t have to believe in burn in but this is coming from the manufacturers that make them. I can attest. When I heard the HK6 out of box the bass was a touch loose sounding, not fully realized. But the potential of the sound got me very excited on open listen. My first impression is here… LINK.. The sound will also expand and fill out with burn in. BA burn in is much more simpler than dynamic burn in. All you have to do is let music play through your HK6 for the required hours and not blasting either. Just play music very simple. I would do at least a 100 hours.


    Guys that followed the discovery thread knows about another phone I bought at the exact same time as the HK6 from another manufacturer which I cannot reveal but just know I did this not only due to my own curiosity but also to compare the two to see which one was the better sounding unit. Both have identical specs and both have the exact same price points. The HK6 came out on top every time and here is why.


    From my own personal likes in a sound design. I like clarity and balance in my earphones that use space to bring out layers of sound. What I dislike is earphones that do too much of one thing and not enough of another. Sound balancing to me is crucial and necessary simply due to the very wide variety of genres I listen to. Versatility comes with a balanced sound. When you have too much of one aspect, you can take versatility out of the equation.
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    What you get in the HK6 is sound tuning if I was making my own earphone. Not only is the balance there but it is very refreshing to find an earphone where the mids are not 2nd in line to sound aspect or take a back seat to the bass or the treble or both. In fact I will argue the mids on the HK6 is its true calling card and makes the HK6 a special earphone.


    I have had so many earphones do one aspect of sound good to great only to be lacking on stage, or lacking on mids or lacking on treble, have too much treble or much bass but recession in the mids. HK6 has none of this going on.
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    First there is the excellent clean sound represented but the full frontal mids that encompass a wide band of what your hearing. Absolutely stunning for vocals and associated instruments that goes along with it. You know the mids are special when you start listening to your other much more expensive earphones only to hear how lacking the mids are on them. Not good since I used to absolutely love my earphone collection. But the HK6 has shed a new light and a new bar on what you get for your $200.


    The HK6 has one of the most complete sounds I have heard on anything I own. In fact it has set a new standard for me in the price range for sound completeness. Refinements abound on the HK6. From the punchy bass to the treble that does not make a punching bag of your ear drums. Everything is where it should be on the HK6. Then you add that space.

    [​IMG]

    HK6 utilized 6BAs with a coherency of one complete sound. If there are dynamic layers and dimensions to your tracks. These will portray it with ease. The sound tuning is simply masterful. Then you add that crazy space. I have heard excellently tuned earphones from a balanced profile only to lack a very essential ingredient to pull off that great balance and that is space.


    While the HK6 does not have the widest of earphone stage what it does have is a very bold roundness and fullness of stage. Above average head stage for earphones that encompass. You get a very deep and full bodied spacious sound from the HK6 that envelope your hearing.


    Very euphoric in vocal performance and for genres that absolutely must have space to shine. These are one of the best earphones I have ever heard for EDM genre. Older recordings from Johnny Cash to Miles Davis sound stunning. Very versatile and sounds just right for every genre I listen to which is just about everything. But so very special for vocal performances of every type.


    Effortless in performances with sound layers from foreground to background in well recorded tracks. One of my test albums is Eric Claptons unplugged album. The best rendition of that album that I can recall. Being able to hear Claptons foot taps to fret slides and every single high note sounds like it is supposed to all portrayed in a very spacious manner. A stunner for live recordings.


    Then there is the isolation. These have at least a minimum of 26dbs of isolation. One of the best isolating earphones as you have a solid block of plastic resin with 6 metal BAs in your ears. Very ergonomic on the housing design by the way. Which is worn over the ears. Can be used for hours with a very comfortable fit in the ears. You want to hear your music and all the little detail that goes with it. These make excellent earphones for out and about. Dare I say perfect.


    Resolution of sound is exemplary and excellent from this price range but I think what would truly make these stand out in future versions is if they used even a higher end BA vs what is used on these.

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    I don’t have anything in my possession that comes close to the overall sonics qualities of these HK6 at the price they are asking for them. I was so taken with how good these HK6 are that I ended up inquiring about a higher end version. One of NiceHCKs flagship models the DZ12. I will be writing a review on them as well. So look out for that one. But for now this read is all about the HK6.


    Adaptive bass? Agile dynamic bass is very crucial to musical versatility and on the HK6 we have bass that is clearly a part of the sound design. While mid bass has emphasis it does not encroach or has any real influence on tonality or is a detracter on the overall sound in any way. The bass much like how clean the treble is comes alive dependant on recordings. Sam Cookes music has some very old school analogue type sound to it and bass notes are perfect on older recordings and then can be very punchy, speedy and aggressive for Sepultura, Metallica and Slayer.. Even Drake, Migos and DJ Khaled for hip hop sub bass is there when called for, and here is the only portion of sound I feel that needs a bit of a boost which is easily done with a good amp or even eq. Bass reaches deep but does not have the authoritative rumble of a well tuned dynamic. Which leads to my suggestion for Jim.


    Suggestion? Yes a suggestion. Hows about a newer version of the HK6 with a micro HD dynamic in it for bass. Make at least 4 varieties for colors for them. Add more optimized tips. Something similar to the KZ spiral tips but with a longer stock on them. Charge less than a $300 note and. Hmm I will be first in line to test out something like that. Lol


    So in the end I am gonna let you guys know. I’m not gonna do any comparisons to my other phones in the price range. These already beat them out handily. I am just going to leave you with this. The DZ12 that is a $780 12 BA earphone I have in my possession.


    Has that better bass end. Has wider stage. Has the leg up on resolution. But really they sound fairly identical actually. Save yourself the money and go for a HK6. Amp them and they will reach the sound qualities of a flagship NiceHCK semi custom. You best believe the hype is real!.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. DBaldock9
      DBaldock9, May 20, 2018
      ebjarrell, drbluenewmexico and Dsnuts like this.
    3. hiflofi
      Can we get a frequency response graph please? Thank you.
      hiflofi, May 21, 2018
      drbluenewmexico and dkarl403 like this.
    4. HiFlight
      I just acquired a set of these and have to say that not only is the build quality superb but the sound greatly surpasses my expectations. They have that elusive sense of realism that is lacking in all but the top performers. It is refreshing to hear an IEM that has nothing overemphasized or lacking in the SQ.
      HiFlight, Sep 7, 2018